Faith versus Positive Thinking
Faith versus Positive Thinking

Faith versus Positive Thinking

Increasingly, Christians are employing secular imageries and meanings in their understanding and interpretation of divine concepts. Ordinarily, this should raise no concern; the authors of scriptures drew heavily from natural concepts and principles in explaining spiritual concepts. For instance, Paul employed the picture of an athletics event, he even used words like “justification” which is a legal term.

Nonetheless, in an era where words are fast evolving in their meanings or becoming vague, we must preserve the sacredness of biblical concepts and words. There are certain principles which are well defined in scripture that have closed boundaries i.e are not to be redefined.

Some of these terms may even have close variants in the natural, but the scriptural definition remains accurate, and it would be wise to stick with the biblical meaning as Christians. FAITH is one of such concepts.

In recent times, it has become very easy to confuse faith with positive thinking. Some have opined that they are the same.The line seems blurry but indeed it’s not, we only need to pay attention to the bible more. 

Positive thinking, simply put, is being optimistic about life despite what it throws at you. It is the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation. It means you approach the good and the bad in life with the expectation that things will go well. The bedrock of positive thinking is man’s ability to condition his mind and thoughts. Faith however differs. 

Faith involves some positive thinking, but faith is not limited to positive thinking. Positive thinking shares certain traits with faith like being bold, setting your heart to believe what you want to see, speaking affirmations e.t.c. However, both differ in their modus operandi. Here is a major distinction; while positive thinking focuses on the human/self, faith is founded on GOD.

Positive thinking and Faith differ in their modus operandi. Here is a major distinction; while positive thinking focuses on the human/self, faith is founded on GOD. Click To Tweet

Positive Thinking says, “Believe in yourself” and faith says “Believe in God”. The Christian concept of faith is rooted deeply in God’s love and ability. I can believe and be optimistic because I know God’s power is working on my behalf. It is not a reliance built in myself or the ‘vague’ forces of nature but a known truth about God.

Positive Thinking says, “Believe in yourself” and faith says “Believe in God” Click To Tweet

There is a believing and speaking aspect of positive thinking, same as faith. What differs however is “WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?” “ON WHAT GROUNDS DO YOU SPEAK?”
Jesus explaining the concept of faith for receiving in Mark 11:22-24 started with the statement “Have faith in God”, if any man will command the mountain and will not doubt in his heart but believe in what he says, he shall have what he says”.

There is a believing and speaking aspect of positive thinking, same as faith. What differs however is “WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?” “ON WHAT GROUNDS DO YOU SPEAK?”” Click To Tweet

In positive thinking, the belief and the affirmation are rooted in the ability of the man, but the foundation of faith is in GOD.

Indeed, God in his wisdom has set certain principles in nature and when a man works diligently with these principles, he reaps the benefits — one of them is diligence. However, there are certain issues that even diligence won’t solve. This is one of the reasons for divine interventions and miracles etc.

There are certain issues that even diligence won’t solve. This is one of the reasons for divine interventions and miracles etc. Click To Tweet

Heb 11:6 affirms that he that comes to God must believe that HE is, and he is the rewarder…”  To walk in faith, you must reckon with God’s nature and ability — it is total dependence on the ability of God. 

How about Confessions and Affirmations? What you believe and say is what you see?

The confession of the Christian ought not to be predicated on mental assent or be mere verbal declarations. It is to be backed up by power generated in the place of prayers. The example of Elijah comes to mind here, he had declared that there would be rain but went into prayers to actualize the same.

The confession of the Christian ought not to be predicated on mental assent or be mere verbal declarations. It is to be backed up by power generated in the place of prayers Click To Tweet

Faith comes by hearing

Faith does not come by motivation, faith comes into the heart via the hearing of the word of God. The word of God is capable of imparting faith into the heart of a man and acting on that faith brings the manifestation of what one believes for.

Faith is not to be psyched up; “if you put your heart to it, you can achieve it.”. Oh well, if you put your heart to healing, without faith in God’s ability expressed in prayers, you might never receive that healing. Healing is not received by mind conditioning but by believing in God’s ability. 

Don’t get it twisted, positive thinking and motivation are not wrong, They have their place but must be rightly situated and kept within their boundaries.  Faith involves some degree of positive thinking, but Faith transcends positive thinking. It is the choice to trust and rest totally and completely in God’s ability. 

David often encouraged himself and chose to be hopeful. We find in his many musings that his hope was situated in God, not in his ability. Hence his classic psalms 42 reads:
“Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God…who is the health of my countenance and my God”..

In 1 Samuel 30, David and his men lost ALL, including their wives. David did not pursue the raiders just by motivation or mental conditioning. He rather inquired of the Lord and got the instruction to pursue and recover.
Faith is anchored in God and not self!

Faith is anchored in God and not self Click To Tweet
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